When talking to business owners about blogging, I sometimes get the question “why should we be blogging?”. Most companies want to know the exact return on investment (ROI) of blogging and typically how quickly blogging can lead to more sales.
Whilst more sales can certainly be a result of effective blogging, there are numerous other advantages to spending time and effort on writing posts. Here are some of the main benefits that you can expect from setting up a business blog.
1. Showcasing your expertise
Blogging is the soft sell approach to promoting yourself, your business and your product or service. By writing about recent events, news and trends in your industry and by adding your view on things you will demonstrate thought leadership.
By adapting your blog posts to you target audience, you can deliver valuable and interesting content that will stimulate interest in your business and offerings. If you are in B2B (Business to Business), you want to be seen as an expert in your field and therefore let you topics stay general and reinforce what a trustworthy and knowledgeable person you are.
If you are in B2C (Business to Consumer), you probably want to blog about the benefit of your product or service, how it has helped past customers and how it is likely to help future ones.
2. Creating interesting content for social media
Your blog is an integral piece of your social media marketing strategy. The blog is the home base where you create interesting and valuable content, social media platforms are outposts to which you broadcast your new blog posts. The idea here is that you connect with your target audience on social media, they see your updates and click back to your blog (and site).
Once you have attracted someone to visit your site, you have the chance to convert this visitor into a prospect by inviting them to comment on the blog, subscribe to the newsletter or connect on more social media platforms.
The blog broadcasting can be automated using aggregator tools like Hootsuite, meaning you can update all your social media profiles by clicking one button.
Just like a personal blog reflects who the person behind it is, a company blog will mirror the values, culture and mission that business stands for. The more authentic a blog is, the more likely it is to be trusted. We all know customers buy from people they trust, the blog can do some of the ground work for you.
4. Better conversion rates
Visitors to a corporate site will typically look at the blog content before they make a decision to get in touch with the company. Giving people a taste of your strengths and an idea of the business culture will help the visitor to ‘try before they buy’.
Studies by Forrester Research indicate that purchase decisions are influenced by blogs. Over half of the respondents to their surveys say blogs play a role in the critical moment they decide to move forward with a purchase.
5. Humanizing the company brand
Corporate websites are typically designed to make the business look big and successful. You seldom get the human touch on a site apart from in the blog section (and possibly the About page). Assuming that real employees are writing the blog content, this will provide prospects with an idea of the company’s values, culture and people.
6. SEO & Inbound marketing
The SEO (search engine optimization) benefits for a site with a blog are huge. Some companies start blogging for this reason alone. You could call this inbound marketing, where potential customers find you as opposed to outbound marketing where you are going out to find customers.
Search engines are very keen on blogs as they are seen to be authentic and contain original content. Expect even more interest from Google when you update the blog consistently and frequently. As for content, the more varied topics and number of writers, the better as it shows off the versatility.
When you achieve better search engine ranking with the likes of Google, this means more people are likely to find the company site and blog in search results. This in turn is likely to lead to more enquiries which will lead to more sales if you play your cards right.
7. Conversation with your target audience
A blog normally allows its readers to add comments at the bottom of the page. A company blog is therefore the perfect platform for creating dialogue with your customers and prospects. Effective posts will stimulate comments which you in turn reply to and thus create that two-way conversation.
Your readers are likely to be your potential customers and the more you can interact with them through the blog, the more you can understand what they are looking for in your product or services.
You can use the blog to sound out new ideas, ask people to take a poll or even come up with new ideas for your business. Ask for instant feedback on your customer support, marketing campaigns and other topics; you will be amazed how much your target audience wants to help you out.
By consistently communicating with your readers, you will build up a community around your company. If you nurture this community you’ll find that the people will turn into your brand ambassadors over time – more powerful than any advertising campaign that you can pay for.
On top of these seven benefits, it’s worth noting that blogging is free, simple and has a stronger impact than most marketing/PR activities that companies engage in.
Is your company blogging and what results are you getting?